That Moment I Knew I had to do Something

What was the event that sent chills up your spine? When you thought ‘I have to do something’.

Of all the environmental and social devastation in the world today, I decided I had to do something when the Kashmir conflict broke out again in 2016. Having a brother in-law who is an expert in water management, I’ve been aware of this powder keg in the Kashmir for many years, and it is now set to blow these two nuclear powers back to the Stone Age.

“Pakistan is facing an acute water shortage and may run dry by 2025, according to a recent study. Experts say the water scarcity is also stoking violent conflicts in the country, which is already battling insurgency.

“The Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR) has warned that the country may run dry by 2025 if the authorities didn’t take an immediate action. According to a yet-to-be released report, parts of which have been made available to the media, the Islamic country touched the “water stress line” in 1990 and crossed the “water scarcity line” in 2005 (Shams 2016).”

In this compartmentalized world of ours, we are often unable to make sense of what is driving the destabilization across Eurasia. With TERROR screamed at us by the media, it can be hard to step back and see the bigger picture, to realise that it’s a lack of access to the basics such as clean water that is causing unrest in Pakistan, and that when the glacial meltwaters from the Himalayas stop flowing, things are going to get worse, irrespective of what your opinion is on climate change.

In a ‘post-truth world’, we have seen wide-scale denial of climate change, as if it is a healthy antidote to the seriousness of the message that environmentalists often find themselves presenting in an attempt to get through to people. If one side screams that the world as we know it is about to end and that we need to act, it’s only natural that a counter measure arises that is equally extreme, in this case to completely deny that anything is wrong. But just as certain as 2 plus 2 equals 4, a changing climate will mean less snow melt, which will mean India will keep the water from flowing to Pakistan, which will result in Pakistan needing to take ‘immediate action’, which will surely mean escalation of tensions, conflict and possibly war, which would be an absolute travesty. No one who dies in this potential conflict would have climate change stated as their cause of death, and yet I could’ve told you 5 years ago with absolute certainty that at some time in the near future India and Pakistan will fight over water, and here we are today watching it all unfold, albeit at a pace slightly too slow for the media to give it the attention it deserves, and hence we just get on with our lives and ignore the impending doom.

Did you catch this quote in the news?

“Blood and water cannot flow at the same time,” said Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday, as he announced that he was suspending meetings of the committee that oversees how water is shared between India and Pakistan…

“The fear is that, by imperilling one of the few treaties that has successfully governed how water is shared between any nations, Mr Modi may have opened the floodgates to a new and potent source of conflict between India and its greatest enemy, and in so doing, have set a bad example for the rest of the world (Rowlatt 2016).”

You know what I find interesting? Permaculture can fix this. We can slow, spread, and sink the water. We can recharge the aquifers. We can sequester carbon. We can plant forests that will bring back the rain and we can do it all in less than 10 years. We still have 10 years if we work together, if we are smart enough to realise that the enemy is not on the other side of a wall but between our own two ears. We can fix this mess, even if the climate changes.

 Rowlatt, J. 2016. ‘Why India’s water dispute with Pakistan matters.’ BBC. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-37483359.

Shams, S. 2016. Why water scarcity is a bigger threat to Pakistan’s security than militancy. GW. Made For Minds. http://www.dw.com/en/why-water-scarcity-is-a-bigger-threat-to-pakistans-security-than-militancy/a-19293470